Item: Black & Decker Rapid Toast 2-Slice Toaster
Overall Impression: If you want a compact toaster that makes light, golden toast fast, this is the toaster for you. Bonus points for the retro style.
I never thought I'd care about the look (yes, the look) of a toaster — and then I found this one. I love its retro shape, the brushed chrome, and the extra-wide slots, but what really made me curious about this toaster was its claim to toast 50% faster than previous models. Could that really be true? And if it is, just how well does it toast a slice of bread?
The Quick Facts
Characteristics and specs
- Dimensions: 8" high x 7" wide X 10.2" deep
- Weight: 3.4 pounds
- Capacity: 2-slot
- Slot width: "Extra-wide slots"
- Construction: Stainless steel
- Settings: 7 settings
- Special features: Bagel, defrost, cancel
- Cleaning: Drop-down crumb tray under the toaster
- Warranty: Two-year warranty
Favorite details: In addition to the speed of this toaster, I really love the look — everything from the retro style and brushed chrome exterior, to the extra-sturdy bread lever.
Potential problems: While this toaster has both a bagel and defrost function, they can't be used at the same time. Also, this model doesn't have a reheat function.
Who would love this? Anyone who wants a toaster that works fast, and doesn't take up a lot of space.
I put the Black & Decker toaster through four different tests, and here's how it did:
1. Toasting a single slice of bread
- The test: I toasted a single piece of white bread in the right slot of the toaster over rounds of testing — once on the lightest setting, once on the middle setting, and once on the darkest setting.
- Result: While the cycle at the lightest shade setting took just 53 seconds, the bread didn't obtain any color. It only started to dry out, and still had some soft areas. The cycle at the medium shade setting lasted 1:07, and the bread started to get color on the inner side of the slice. The cycle at the darkest shade setting lasted 1:27, with the toast getting a nice golden-brown color that was slightly darker on the inside than the outside of the slice.
2. Toasting two slices of bread
- The test: I toasted two pieces of white bread, one in each slot of the toaster, over three rounds of testing — once on the lightest setting, once on the middle setting, and once on the darkest setting.
- Result: The bread obtained less color when toasting two slices simultaneously. Results from both the left and right slot were the same — the side of each slice facing the inner heating element got slightly more color than the side facing the outer heating element. Otherwise, toasting was even.
3. Defrosting and toasting a frozen bagel
- The test: I followed the instructions in the product manual for toasting frozen bagels. I set the shade control to the medium setting and lowered the bagel halves into the toaster. Since you can't use the "defrost" and "bagel" buttons simultaneously, I selected the "defrost" button.
- Result: Only 1:39 after lowering the bagel into the toaster, it was totally defrosted and lightly toasted with dark, crispy edges on both sides.
4. Toasting an English muffin
- The test: A split English muffin toasted at the darkest setting. Can it reach medium, golden-brown in one setting? If not, how long will it take?
- Result: One toasting cycle on the darkest setting finished at 1:55. The English muffin was very lightly toasted, and definitely need more time. I started a second cycle, and let it continue until the English muffin had a medium-brown color. Total toasting time for that was 3:30.
Design and Functions
This toaster claims to toast items 50% faster than previous models. It has seven shade settings to achieve a toast color from light to dark, with extra features to accommodate bagels and frozen items (although, those two features cannot be used at the same time). While there is not a reheat function, which typically works to reheat items without browning or toasting, the lightest shade setting would work for this function. The control lever (used to push items into the toaster and lift them out), feels especially durable and sturdy.
While in use, the sides of the toaster got a little bit hot, but it was still manageable to handle without getting burned. The top of the toaster, however, got very hot (although, there is a warning on the top of the toaster cautioning users that the surface gets hot).
The name of this toaster suggests quick toasting, and I was surprised to see how much it really did live up to its word. Of all the items I toasted, I got the best results using the darker shade settings.
While this toaster is fast, the coloring is light, even on the darker settings, and may require a second cycle, depending on your preference. For the most part, toasting was even when working with one, and two slices of bread. Though I did notice the the side of each slice facing the inner heating element got slightly more color, than the side facing the outer heating element.
I was surprised by how quickly this toaster defrosted and toasted a frozen bagels. The edges were crispy and a little darker than I prefer, but the rest of the bagel was evenly toasted.
I was curious to see if one toasting cycle at the darkest shade setting would be enough to cook an English muffin to golden-brown perfection; it wasn't. While the English muffin was lightly toasted, it was in need of a partial second cycle.
Because of the brushed chrome surface, this toaster doesn't seem to pick up finger prints quite as easily as other shiny, stainless steel models.
While cleaning this toaster is easy, there's one important thing to be aware of first: Unlike many toasters that have a crumb tray that pulls out, this model has a "trap door" on the bottom of the unit instead. The crumbs come out easily; just be sure to open the door over the sink or trash can (which I did not do the first time around).
The exterior can be easily cleaned with a damp towel, and non-abrasive cleaner can be used, if necessary.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.